"It used to be that composers would still get paid a fairly decent amount to work on an independent film," says Richard Kraft, co-owner of Kraft-Engel Management. "But now it's usual to argue just about paying for musicians."
Given this reality, many composers and producers are trying to find ways of being creative and cost-conscious at the same time.
Such was the case with Jonathan Demme's latest film, "Rachel Getting Married."
"Jenny Lumet's script had musical references in it," says producer Neda Armian. "The singing of the vows was in the script, and she had even chosen (songs) for it. Some of those songs, though, were quite expensive."
For the pivotal "I do" scene, the screenplay originally called for an AC/DC song, but, Demme says, "we discovered that to have someone do a cover version of that song, live in our movie, would cost more than our entire cast put together."
So he thought of another song, Neil Young's "Unknown Legend."
"You know, Neil's 'Unknown Legend' is the most romantic song I've ever heard," he says. "We were able to get a very, very favorable deal to have Tunde (Adebimpe) sing (that)."
Instead of negotiating for the rights to other music, he then "recruited an exquisite band of musicians whose job it was to make beautiful music in the moment. We never rehearsed a shot. We never planned a shot."
A happy ending, of sorts, but there is also this:
With the number of sessions being cut, and composers being pressed to record twice the amount of music per three-hour session, many musicians can barely pay their bills.
A bailout of the music business, anyone?